Beijing: Reigning US Open champion Bianca Andreescu is relishing the rivalry with Japanese star and US Open 2018 champion Naomi Osaka after the first installment of what should be the start of a long rivalry went to three riveting sets in the China Open quarter-finals.
In what was a high-quality match between two of the brightest young talents in tennis, Osaka came from behind to beat the 19-year-old Andreescu 5-7, 6-3, 6-4 in over two hours in Beijing.
The Canadian was upbeat despite squandering a one-set lead against Osaka and said she was sure they were going to have many more matches like that. The loss ended Andreescu's 17-match unbeaten run.
"I was really excited," said the world number six Andreescu, whose ascent into the women's elite has been breathtaking -- she was ranked 240th this time last year.
"I think I was more focused than usual, it's usually like that when I play top players.
"I think we're going to have many matches like this. Our game styles are pretty different, but they level up pretty equally."
When Osaka was asked about their intense match and the prospect of more such thrilling games, she joked, "Listen, I don't want to play her any more, I'm good, one-and-done.Later, Osaka even took to social media and continued the joke saying, "Let's not do this again anytime soon pls", while retweeting a WTA video.
ANDREESCU HAPPY DESPITE LOSS, OSAKA GIVES OUT A MESSAGE
Andreescu said she felt she was playing better than when she stunned Serena Williams in the US Open final even though she ended up on the losing side.
"I put on a fight. Honestly, it could have gone either way," she said. "It was just some points here and there. I really fought, especially in that last game.
"Holy crap, that was crazy."
Osaka said that she felt she had been "counted out" after hitting poor form following her Australian Open triumph in January.
"I'm still here," Osaka, the world number four, said, adding that Andreescu's recent stunning success, including winning the US Open final against Serena Williams, had driven her on.
Andreescu, whose ascent has been so fast that she did not even play in Beijing a year ago, said she was relishing facing Osaka more in future.The duo exchanged warm words at the net at the end.
The Canadian, ranked sixth in the world, revealed: "I said, 'Congrats, you played amazing.'
"She said, 'You're amazing.'
"I said, 'We're going to have so many more matches like this. I can't wait to see what the future holds.'"
(With AFP inputs)